Posted by: Graeme Leathem
Apparently this is a fairly common nightmare: you’re in a crowded public place and everyone is staring at you. Hundreds, thousands of eyes looking right at you, some of them laughing, and you never figure it out. Why are they staring? What’s happening to me? …and then you wake up sweating and realize it was only a dream...
Except in my case it wasn’t a dream but rather a very busy Whistler Village on a warm Saturday afternoon. I was dressed in a giant bald eagle costume dancing around, flapping my wings, cawing and generally acting very birdlike before an audience of at least a hundred people – all of them staring right at me.
This may seem like an embarrassing experience, but it's actually one of my most cherished Whistler memories and a true highlight of my first Whistler Children's Art Festival. And most importantly, in the eyes of my three-year-old daughter who was flapping right beside me, I was a hero. As we both danced and flapped and got lost in the fun of pretending to be bald eagles I learned a valuable lesson – parenting is not a spectator sport, you have to get your feathers dirty.
This summer marks the 29th anniversary of the Whistler Children's Art Festival, making it the longest running community event in town. Organized by the Whistler Arts Council, and occurring July 14 -15, 2012, this family friendly weekend festival is packed with over 40 workshops led by some of BC’s top professional artists in fine arts, crafts, theatre, multi-media, dance and music.
Add to that an impressive line-up of free activities and entertainment by popular children’s performers, roving musicians and many other zany characters, and you have an amazing weekend of fun in Whistler that no family will want to miss.
And besides, other than Halloween, when else is it socially acceptable to dress up with your kids and run around the town pretending to be a bird of prey or some other wild or imaginary creature? All those people staring at me were also smiling and having fun. It ruled.
But don’t take my word for it. After our adventures last summer, my daughter is a self-proclaimed expert on the Whistler Children's Art Festival. Here are four festival must-do's from a four-year-old:
1. Bob's and Lolo – This Juno-nominated musical duo are dedicated to connecting kids to the natural world with music, movement and make-believe, and they're basically rock stars to my daughter.
2. Shaggy Shakers – Kids love to make noise and this is their chance to create and make music with their very own little furry monster music maracas.
3. Face Painting with Nina Moore – My daugter paints her own face on a regular basis so it's always nice when a talented artist can do it for her!
4. In The Company of Fairies – The only thing better than pretending to be a fairy princess, dragon or pirate is to pretend to be one while totally looking the part.
Most of the action happens down at Whistler Creekside so for more information on the Whistler Children's Art Festival check out this link and start practicing your bald eagle or pirate act!
Check out this video to get a taste of the good times to be had.
Children's Art Festival from Tourism Whistler on Vimeo.